6. Beauty and the Beast (1946)
The second fairytale in this list needs no plot explaining. Jean Cocteau’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast is a classic of French cinema for many reasons, but could as well be alone for Cocteau’s touching message at the beginning of the film that directs itself to the viewer; asking them for childlike imagination. After this heartfelt message, the viewer gets to experience the fairytale like never done before and after; this especially thanks to the fantastically surreal set-design and costume-design. And not only is it a feast for the eyes, it’s also filled with layers of subtext.
Jean Cocteau’s masterpiece might be talked about, but not nearly as much as a number of other Beauty and the Beast adaptation, even though this is arguably the most magical one. This is the one that everyone should see and the one that everyone really should talk about.
7. Tumbbad (2018)
Tumbbad starts out with Vinayak Rao (Sohum Shah) telling his son the story about Hastar, the greedy son of Pandurang, goddess of prosperity. He explains Hastar was exiled and erased from all history by Pandurang after he stole her unlimited wealth and attempted to steal her unlimited food. Hastar was cursed to be forever hungry and now sleeps for eternity in his mother’s womb: Earth.
As a kid Vinayak lived in Tumbbad, were his mother served a lord and his great grandmother (somewhat of a monster herself). From her, Vinayak learns the location of Hastar and his treasure of unlimited gold. Having grown up Vinayak occasionally visits Hastar to steal gold coins from this unlimited treasure.
Rahi Anil Barve his directorial debut is beautiful yet terrifying. The world that’s created seems such a new step for Hindi cinema. The setting can be compared to the great 2020 released Bulbbul, but arguably Tumbbad did it better. The visual aspects from design of the monsters, to use of colors all work perfectly together to make us believe in the folklore displayed. It’s not only a beautiful film to look at, but also one of the more eerie, fear-inducing films from recent years. Hopefully films like Tumbbad and Bulbbul are the start of a new trend of Indian cinema.
8. Blacula (1972)
Transylvania, it’s 1780. African prince Mamuwalde and his wife meet with Count Dracula for a dinner in his castle. Soon Mamuwalde and his wife turn out to be the meal and Dracula turns Mamuwalde into a vampire and curses him with the name ‘Blacula’ while imprisoning him into a tomb.
200 years later, in 1972, goods from the Count his castle are sold and shipped to Los Angeles. When the buyers open the tomb, Blacula is awakened and attacks them. He leaves for LA and roams the city thirsty for blood until he meets a woman that resembles his wife.
After ‘The Thing with Two Heads’ Blacula is the second Blaxploitation film diving into the horror genre and the first tackling the fantasy genre. Quickly similar retellings spawned, like ‘Blackenstein’ and the highly acclaimed ‘Ganja & Hess,’ but for this list Blacula felt like the appropriate choice. Not only is Blacula an important cultural mark in cinema history, but it’s also just a really entertaining film. It knows exactly what it’s doing and still manages to combine goofy fun with a very interesting theme. Not only the horror or fantasy will stand out, but surprisingly the romantic touch of it all will leave you surprised.
9. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)
Terry Gilliam’s filmography is filled with fantasy stories that are often goofy yet magical. Probably the clearest example of this is Monthy Python’s Holy Grail, but films like Brazil, Time Bandits, The Brothers Grimm, and Gilliam’s rendition of Don Quixote all suffice. This entry though, is reserved for maybe his goofiest film of all.
In the eighteenth Century, a town is being attacked by the Turks. Meanwhile, in a small theater, the play ‘The Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ is being performed. During the play a confused old man rushes onto the podium, claiming he is the real Baron Munchausen and that he is the one that is responsible for the Turkish attack. In a fantastical manner he tells the audience his plan for dealing with this attack. His plan involves his trusted servants, each with their own strange attribute, which he must find using a home-built balloon. First stop: the moon.
Gilliam is at his best when including the bizarre and surreal in his films, this one being no exception. Although it was nominated for four Oscars, the initial audience reception wasn’t a success, which remains a shame. It’s definitely a film to revisit with the family, or one to explore if you haven’t seen it already.
10. Wizards (1977)
The evil mutant-wizard Blackwolf wants to claim the throne of his dead mother by using some lost military technologies and with it overtake the world. His twin brother, the sage Avatar, assembles his team in order to defeat Blackwolf and his evil forces. The storyline of Wizards is a prime example of good versus evil, but thanks to the unique-looking post-apocalyptic setting and absurd stylistic choices and imagery, it’s a one of a kind animation film.
Wizards is Ralph Bakshi’s at his craziest. It switches between animation techniques seamlessly and showcases beautiful psychedelic and impressionistic imagery throughout, all the while telling a politically charged story. Bakshi’s vision always makes for the most fantastic, surreal worlds. His adult animation films including Coonskin, Fritz the Cat and The Lord of the Rings are all like none other animation film out there, but still each of them is highly overlooked and underrated. It’s films like these that you would suspect to have a large cult following, but even though there is a following, it’s not anywhere near as large as it should be.